We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel
Irene Estabrooks, 87, died of cancer on June 11, 2022, in Baker City, Oregon. Irene, a resident of Baker City and a life-long resident of Las Animas, Colorado before moving to Baker City to live with her family, died surrounded in love with family by her side.
Irene was proud of the 22 years she spent working at Fort Lyon VA hospital outside Las Animas, Colorado, continuing to speak of her time working with Veterans even until she died, often sharing stories with family members and the other residents and staff of the senior living community where she lived in Baker City. Even after retiring from VA, she continued to volunteer and devote her time to the community and veterans and their families as a life member of the VFW and Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary in Las Animas. In Las Animas, she was also a member of the Eagles, Women’s Civic Club, and the Birding Society and volunteered regularly at the Senior Center. She enjoyed crafting immensely and loved being a part of the Craft Club, not only making special, fun craft items but being able to share and exchange them with others, as well as show them off to family and friends.
She was a devoted member of the Las Animas Presbyterian Church for years, attending every Sunday, as well as participating in bible study and any holiday and other special events. Irene’s devotion came from the heart, so much so that when she decided to join, she insisted on taking the classes before becoming a member of the church. It was evident in her smile when she spoke of it that she was exceedingly proud when she was offered the position of deacon. When she moved to Baker City, one of the things she missed the most was the embrace and love she felt from her church in Las Animas.
One of the most successful jobs she ever managed was as a single mother of seven children. She supported her children, stood by them when the world and odds were against them, taught them to be independent, instilled in them the fortitude to stand strong against the world, loved them, and made sure that – even when things were sparse – they had what they needed and grew up safe, smart, and healthy. She made sure that her children knew the importance of family. She will be missed.
Irene was preceded in death by her husband Paul Estabrooks, her daughter Ritha Wilcox and her husband Carl Wilcox, her grandson Richard Finch, her granddaughter Haley Reynolds, and her brother Larry Gilliland, and her mother Maggie Bradford. She is survived by her daughters Winnie (Dale) Dodge, Stella Estabrooks, Elizabeth Estabrooks, Theresa (Bill) Johnson, Kelley (Hank) Finch, and her son Michael (Victoria) Estabrooks, as well as her sister Maude Gilliland and her brother Vernon (Connie) Gilliland, along with 22 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Las Animas Presbyterian Church on August 27, 2022, at 2 p.m., followed by refreshments at the VFW. Irene’s last request was for donations to be made to crisis intervention centers for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Recommendations in Baker City are May Day, Inc., and in Las Animas, donations can be made in her name to Arkansas Valley Resource Center in La Junta.